Written by Maple Gu
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Patrick McShane
Since 2015, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation Mobile Clinic team in Fresno, California has been providing free eye care services to children from low-income families in the Fresno Unified School District as a part of the the See 2 Succeed program.
The See 2 Succeed program currently serves 49 schools annually, providing free vision checkups and glasses fitting to more than 16,500 children each year, and providing ophthalmologic exams and treatment to 50 to 60 children each week.
From April 25th to 27th, the Tzu Chi Vision Mobile Clinic visited Roeding Elementary School and Harvest Elementary School in Fresno to help school children in need in California’s Central Valley have a chance to learn to read with better vision and advance their studies unimpeded by vision issues
The City of Fresno is home to many lower-income and working-class neighborhoods. Many of the residents face economic difficulties, and most do not have health insurance. Elisa Pichardo, Vice Principal of Roeding Elementary School, said, “Our community is about 87% Hispanic (and many) struggles a little bit financially so this is an opportunity to be able to get that service that they’re needing.”
The Tzu Chi team came to provide free eye care services to local families in need.
Maria Sandoval, a mother struggling to make ends meet, brought her daughter to the free vision clinic for a vision checkup, “I came because she failed her vision exam at school twice.” She was thankful for the free eyeglasses Tzu Chi provided for her daughter, “I think it’s important because glasses are very expensive and it’s useful to people and parents out there who don’t have insurance.”
Marie Rico, a parent of a Harvest Elementary School student, was unaware of her daughter Eva Rico’s myopia she was examined at one of Tzu Chi’s free vision checkups. Marie Rico said, “She needed to get an eye test to get glasses, which I wasn’t aware of, I think it’s amazing.”
Before Eva came to the Tzu Chi free clinic for her checkup, she often had trouble in class, saying, “I couldn’t see…
small things and I couldn’t see far.”
After getting her new glasses, Eva will be able to read the words on the blackboard in class without feeling tired. Holding Eva’s hand, Marie expressed her gratitude, “We so appreciate you guys for donating and having these wonderful people do this for kids just like her that need them. Thank you.”
Tzu Chi’s work with the See 2 Succeed program has enabled these children, who could not see the blackboard clearly, to achieve better learning outcomes due to improved eyesight. The children can now do better in their studies and help themselves and their families have a brighter future.
Help Tzu Chi Ensure Every Child in Need Has the Vision Services They Need To Become the Leaders of Tomorrow.
Written by Adriana DiBenedetto
On Thursday, May 4, 2023, volunteers and medical professionals from the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation (TCMF) set out with community partners for a special event at Madison Elementary School in Fresno, California. On this day, a milestone achievement was reached for the See 2 Succeed vision program during volunteers’ routine service event visit, wherein the 5,000th pair of eyeglasses was dispensed since the program’s inception in 2015.
See 2 Succeed is a local nonprofit partnership that joins hands with Fresno County Schools to offer crucial vision care for children in California’s Central Valley. And, utilizing Tzu Chi’s Vision Mobile Clinics outfitted with state-of-the-art optometrist equipment, See 2 Succeed offers free eye exams to 50-60 children per week, as well as free prescription lenses for students in need — helping improve confidence and performance in the classroom and beyond. New prescription eyeglasses are usually ready in under two hours at Tzu Chi’s mobile clinics, and crucial information is provided for parents and caregivers regarding the importance of maintaining their child’s vision health. See 2 Succeed currently serves 51 schools per year, prescreening over 16,500 children yearly.
This monumental accomplishment would not have been possible for this unique service program without the support from generous sponsors like CalViva Health, Fansler Foundation, Fresno Unified School District, Fresno County Superintendents of Schools, Wesley Foundation, Valley Children Hospital, and Cradle to Career.
The hardworking team at Tzu Chi Fresno Mobile Clinic marks the distribution of 5,000 pairs of eyeglasses with a celebratory cake. Photo/Tzu Chi Fresno Mobile Clinic
Programs like See 2 Succeed are truly life-changing for Fresno County students who otherwise might not have been able to access these services. Tzu Chi USA’s Mobile Clinics empower underserved communities in Fresno and surrounding towns, with more mobile clinics in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Jose, to help ensure volunteers’ care can reach as many people as possible.
Tzu Chi Mobile Clinic recognizes the tremendous importance of health and vision care in people’s daily lives. With this in mind, Tzu Chi’s medical volunteer team helps individuals and families receive the patient-focused care they need — regardless of income.
Vision Care in Motion
The city of Fresno is home to many agricultural workers and migrant families for whom treatment can be challenging to access. In addition to affordability concerns, barriers in transportation and limited resources often compound matters, meaning individuals may delay or forgo medical help. With this, Tzu Chi’s Mobile Clinic team collaborates with schools to aid as many students as possible, knowing that students learn better when their basic needs are met. In doing so, volunteers and volunteer medical professionals provide the vision treatment students need to grow and reach their goals.
With uncorrected vision problems, children may experience headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, dry eyes, and back, neck, and shoulder pain as they do their best to see the board, screens, schoolwork, or engage in beloved hobbies like sports or creating arts and crafts. All of this affects not only how they see, but how they feel and perceive themself, both now and in the future.
Tzu Chi USA’s Fresno Mobile Clinic is well-equipped with the tools to make a real difference without delay. Staffed with a team of licensed optometrists and fully outfitted with ophthalmic equipment, the clinic can diagnose eye conditions, provide vision screenings, and produce prescription lenses on the spot, all in one day. The unit presents a selection of eyeglasses according to the results, and children can pick out the frame they like best.
As expressed by Steven Voon, Executive Director of Tzu Chi Mobile Clinic, the vision clinic was designed in one sense with a bit of a ‘wow’ factor in mind for the patient. Indeed, every guest who visits the mobile clinic can surely feel the ‘wow’ experience — perhaps even seeing the world in stunning clarity for the first time, and that’s a game changer.
Tzu Chi’s Vision Mobile Clinic provides eye care on the spot. With your help, we can keep important medical programs like these going. Photo/Tzu Chi Fresno Mobile Clinic
At Tzu Chi USA’s mobile clinics, volunteers are committed to serving communities and helping families get the care and consideration they deserve. At the heart of their mission is a resonating message: if they cannot come to us, we’ll go to them — because everyone deserves to feel cared for. The services Tzu Chi provides are a blessing with far-reaching positive effects in the daily lives of these families and children, and volunteers hope the benefits will set a wondrous cycle in motion for years to come.